BY BARB BERGGOETZ
While you might not have known what it was, chances are you have seen an automated external defibrillator, or AED. Used to restart someone’s heart following sudden cardiac arrest, AEDs have been placed in more gyms, schools, and businesses in recent years due to increased regulation and greater public awareness of their ability to save lives.
Kraig Bushey is a CPR/AED and first aid instructor with the Monroe County YMCA. He says he’s been involved in five incidents using CPR and/or AEDs since 2010. “It’s amazing to see it when that AED is hooked up,” he says. “When you see an individual come back to a conscious state, it’s overwhelming.”
In 2000, legislation was passed requiring AEDs in all federal buildings, but state legislation varies. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in Indiana, AEDs are required in health clubs and gyms, but not in state buildings, schools, or nursing homes. Still, they are becoming more common in those places and others.
According to the Protect IU website, you’ll find nearly 100 AEDs across the Indiana University–Bloomington campus. On its website, the nonprofit organization Bolt for the Heart notes there are more than 400 AEDs in Indiana State Police cars, including those in Monroe County, thanks to its fundraising efforts. And the Monroe County YMCA has five AEDs, says Kevin Thompson, Monroe County YMCA risk management coordinator.
Individuals and employers are becoming more safety-oriented, Thompson says. “In five years, we’ve tripled the number of people we’ve certified, and we’re also seeing more organizations requiring training for employees,” he says. In 2017, the YMCA certified nearly 600 people, including staff members who have to be recertified every two years.
The City of Bloomington offers CPR/AED classes through the American Red Cross for professional rescuers and health care providers. IU Health Bloomington Hospital also provides training.
The YMCA’s one-time, three-hour class is typically offered three times each month and is open to anyone 12 and older. The cost is $60 for members and $75 for non-members. Upcoming classes are October 28 and November 3, 10, and 11.
For more information, visit monroecountyymca.org.